67 experts from Taiwan and overseas gather in Kaohsiung to open doors for Taiwan's new economy
KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan, Oct. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Asia Pacific Circular Economy Roundtable, Taiwan's largest-ever circular economy forum, organized by the Taiwan Circular Economy Network, kicked off on October 16, 2019 in Kaohsiung. The three-day event features 18 international speakers, 49 representatives from Taiwan enterprises that have adopted circular economy practices, and five site visits, all of which will address the trends, strategies, and methods for implementing circular economy. Over 500 enterprise representatives are taking part in the event. In addition to those from Europe including the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the UK, which are actively promoting the circular economy, participants from Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian countries also attended the event.
The first Asia Pacific Circular Economy Roundtable, the largest event of its kind ever in Taiwan, was held in Kaohsiung on October 16. A total of 67 individuals from Taiwan and abroad who are involved in putting circular economy theories into practice, are participating in the three-day event, looking for creative ways to promote Taiwan's new economy.
McKinsey consultants expect that the circular economy will generate annual economic benefits of up to NT$6.3 trillion by 2030. In a linear economy, resources are rapidly mined, used, and discarded, leading to global crises such as the depletion of resources, climate change, and environmental pollution. Thanks to government policy and action by consumers, the circular economy has become a viable option in the global supply chain. It also offers Taiwan new opportunities to reduce its import of resources, enabling it to break free from the traditional economic model focusing on contract manufacturing.
Organized by the Taiwan Circular Economy Network, supervised by the "Environmental Protection Administration" (EPA) and the "Ministry of Economic Affairs" (MOEA), and co-organized by the "Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)", Taiwan Sugar Corp., Taiwan Power Company, China Petroleum Company, and China Steel Corporation, the roundtable looks to exhibit the achievements of Taiwan's circular economy.
During the opening ceremony, MOEA Deputy Minister Mr. Wen-Sheng (Vincent) Tseng remarked that in response to international trends, Taiwan's private sector has invested in the development of the circular economy. For instance, in 2012, the Taiwan Cradle to Cradle Strategic Alliance was established, followed by the Taiwan Renewable Energy Alliance in 2015, which was founded by non-profile organizations, social enterprises, and the wind generation industry. In particular, after President Tsai Ing-wen designated the circular economy as a key national development objective, local industry, academia, research institutes, and various sectors joined ranks to forge a circular economy. According to Taiwan Circular Economy Network, over 250 forums, seminars and large events have been held since 2016 to discuss related topics and set plans and goals for cooperative efforts in promoting circular economy.
EPA Deputy Minister Chih-Hsiu Shen commented that waste is actually a misplaced resource. An innovative development model ensuring that resources are able to be recovered and recycled repeatedly will turn garbage into gold. Several years ago, the EPA designated Taiwan's circular economy target from focusing on "source reduction" in 2020 to having reached "green production and consumption" in 2030, and further achieving the ultimate goal of "total circulation of resources" by 2050.
Janez Potocnik, UNEP International Resource Panel Co-chair, who is a global authority on the circular economy, delivered the opening keynote address. He pointed out that in the 21st century, the world doesn't have the luxury of being short-sighted, as it is imperative to face up to the symbiotic relationship between the economy and the environment. The circular economy, he said, allows the use of each resource, thereby more effectively promoting human wellbeing. The world will be better able to overcome challenges associated with climate change by reducing the impact on the environment, thus realizing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he said.
In another keynote address, Taiwan Circular Economic Network Founder and Chairman Charles Huang put forth an "Enterprise Circular Economy Roadmap," explaining the three transitional strategies of product service, high value circulation, and system cooperation, as well as concrete methods that the industrial and agricultural sectors can put into practice. This will enable Taiwan's enterprises to maximize energy and resources, and minimize external costs, consequently creating a new generation in which the economy and the environment can co-exist and prosper.
Innovative business models, materials, and product design are the keys to the circular economy. In reflection of the importance of this topic, on the morning of the first day of the forum, representatives from Kaer, a Singaporean energy and air-conditioning services provider; DSM, an international materials manufacturer in the Netherlands; and Gogoro, a Taiwan innovator in energy and transportation services shared their experiences as pioneers in their respective fields and market trends.
On the afternoon of the first day, discussions focused on the plastics, metals, and organic circulation systems. A number of international experts were invited to analyze the flow and trends of resources in the plastics, textile, construction, machinery, agricultural and biotechnology industries, and many manufacturers exchanged their experiences. Dr. Andriati Cahyaningsih, from the Industrial Research and Development Agency under Indonesia's Ministry of Industry, specially explained how Indonesia intends to adopt circular economy practices to promote the sustainable development of the industrial sector and solve the urgent problem of plastics pollution.
Over the course of the three-day Asia Pacific Circular Economy Roundtable, Day 1 centered on analyzing global economic trends and the trends of various industries, while Day 2 provided participating enterprises with different tools to help them take the first step in implementing circular economy methods. Day 3 features five different site visit routes to demonstrate the impressive performance of select Taiwan companies in adopting circular economy practices.
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